60 research outputs found

    Folk Psychology and the Bayesian Brain

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    Whilst much has been said about the implications of predictive processing for our scientific understanding of cognition, there has been comparatively little discussion of how this new paradigm fits with our everyday understanding of the mind, i.e. folk psychology. This paper aims to assess the relationship between folk psychology and predictive processing, which will first require making a distinction between two ways of understanding folk psychology: as propositional attitude psychology and as a broader folk psychological discourse. It will be argued that folk psychology in this broader sense is compatible with predictive processing, despite the fact that there is an apparent incompatibility between predictive processing and a literalist interpretation of propositional attitude psychology. The distinction between these two kinds of folk psychology allows us to accept that our scientific usage of folk concepts requires revision, whilst rejecting the suggestion that we should eliminate folk psychology entirely

    Resolving Two Tensions in 4E Cognition Using Wide Computationalism

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    Recently, some authors have begun to raise questions about the potential unity of 4E (enactive, embedded, embodied, extended) cognition as a distinct research programme within cognitive science. Two tensions, in particular, have been raised:(i) that the body-centric claims embodied cognition militate against the distributed tendencies of extended cognition and (ii) that the body/environment distinction emphasized by enactivism stands in tension with the world-spanning claims of extended cognition. The goal of this paper is to resolve tensions (i) and (ii). The proposal is that a form of ‘wide computationalism’can be used to reconcile the two tensions and, in so doing, articulate a common theoretical core for 4E cognition

    Individuation without representation

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    Causal Emergence and Real Patterns

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    In several recent publications, Erik Hoel and colleagues have proposed a new model of causal emergence based on an information theoretic measure of causation. In this paper I will first introduce their measure, which they call ‘effective information’, and describe how they use it to argue for causal emergence. In brief, the idea is that certain kinds of complex system are structured such that an intervention characterised at the macro-level will be more informative than one characterised at the micro-level, and that this constitutes a form of causal emergence. Having introduced Hoel’s proposal, I will then assess the extent to which it is genuinely ‘causal’ and/or ‘emergent’, and argue that its interventionist approach to causation supports only an epistemic form of emergence. Finally I will suggest that the best way to make sense of Hoel’s proposal is in terms of Ladyman & Ross' information theoretic gloss on Dennettian ‘real patterns’, which can clarify the sense in which emergence can be both causal and epistemic

    Causal Emergence and Real Patterns

    Get PDF
    In several recent publications, Erik Hoel and colleagues have proposed a new model of causal emergence based on an information theoretic measure of causation. In this paper I will first introduce their measure, which they call ‘effective information’, and describe how they use it to argue for causal emergence. In brief, the idea is that certain kinds of complex system are structured such that an intervention characterised at the macro-level will be more informative than one characterised at the micro-level, and that this constitutes a form of causal emergence. Having introduced Hoel’s proposal, I will then assess the extent to which it is genuinely ‘causal’ and/or ‘emergent’, and argue that its interventionist approach to causation supports only an epistemic form of emergence. Finally I will suggest that the best way to make sense of Hoel’s proposal is in terms of Ladyman & Ross' information theoretic gloss on Dennettian ‘real patterns’, which can clarify the sense in which emergence can be both causal and epistemic

    Folk psychological and neurocognitive ontologies

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    It is becoming increasingly clear that our folk psychological ontology of the mental is unlikely to map neatly on to the functional organisation of the brain, leading to the development of novel ‘cognitive ontologies’ that aim to better describe this organisation. While the debate over which of these ontologies to adopt is still ongoing, we ought to think carefully about what the consequences for folk psychology might be. One option would be to endorse a new form of eliminative materialism, replacing the old folk psychological ontology with a novel neurocognitive ontology. This approach assumes a literalist attitude towards folk psychology, where the folk psychological and neurocognitive ontologies represent competing and incompatible ways of categorising the mental. According to an alternative approach, folk psychology aims to describe coarse-grained behaviour rather than fine-grained mechanisms, and the two kinds of ontology are better thought of as having different aims and purposes. In this chapter I will argue that the latter (coarse-grained) approach is a better way to make sense of everyday folk psychological practice, and also offers a more constructive way to understand the relationship between folk psychological and neurocognitive ontologies. The folk psychological ontology of the mental might not be appropriate for describing the functional organisation of the brain, but rather than eliminating or revising it, we should instead recognise that it has a very different aim and purpose than neurocognitive ontologies

    There Is No Such Thing As Miscomputation

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    This paper will argue that there is no such thing as miscomputation, contrary to the received view in philosophy of computation and (possibly) computer science. There are just hardware problems on the one hand and programming errors on the other, neither of which constitute a distinct kind of computational malfunction. One upshot of this argument is that philosophical accounts of physical computation should not be assessed on whether they can accommodate miscomputation in the abstract, but rather on whether they can make sense of the range of different phenomenona that are commonly (and misleadingly) described as miscomputations

    There Is No Such Thing As Miscomputation

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    This paper will argue that there is no such thing as miscomputation, contrary to the received view in philosophy of computation and (possibly) computer science. There are just hardware problems on the one hand and programming errors on the other, neither of which constitute a distinct kind of computational malfunction. One upshot of this argument is that philosophical accounts of physical computation should not be assessed on whether they can accommodate miscomputation in the abstract, but rather on whether they can make sense of the range of different phenomenona that are commonly (and misleadingly) described as miscomputations

    Cognition, Computing and Dynamic Systems

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    Traditionally, computational theory (CT) and dynamical systems theory (DST) have presented themselves as opposed and incompatible paradigms in cognitive science. There have been some efforts to reconcile these paradigms, mainly, by assimilating DST to CT at the expenses of its anti-representationalist commitments. In this paper, building on Piccinini’s mechanistic account of computation and the notion of functional closure, we explore an alternative conciliatory strategy. We try to assimilate CT to DST by dropping its representationalist commitments, and by inviting CT to recognize the functionally closed nature of some computational systems

    Mechanism Hierarchy Realism and Function Perspectivalism

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    Mechanistic explanation involves the attribution of functions to both mechanisms and their component parts, and function attribution plays a central role in the individuation of mechanisms. Our aim in this paper is to investigate the impact of a perspectival view of function attribution for the broader mechanist project, and specifically for realism about mechanistic hierarchies. We argue that, contrary to the claims of function perspectivalists such as Craver, one cannot endorse both function perspectivalism and mechanistic hierarchy realism: if functions are perspectival, then so are the levels of a mechanistic hierarchy. We illustrate this argument with an example from recent neuroscience, where the mechanism responsible for the phenomenon of ephaptic coupling cross-cuts (in a hierarchical sense) the more familiar mechanism for synaptic firing. Finally, we consider what kind of structure there is left to be realist about for the function perspectivalist
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